By Jessica Bogie
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – “Be healthy, live longer, and help us create a safer and cleaner campus.”
This quote is the slogan for Camden County College’s tobacco free campus. In June of 2009 the three Camden County College campuses became tobacco free. However, two years after the fact one can stroll around the Blackwood campus and find that students are still smoking cigarettes.
“The smoke was right in my face,” says Paulina Kruszewski, president of the International Club at CCC. Kruszewski, who is a non-smoker, believes that there should be areas on campus where students may smoke, so they do not continue to illegally do the act wherever they please.
Another non-smoker and member of the International Club, Marcus Biddle, states, “I understand that people do not like to inhale second hand smoke, nor do I, but on the other hand the smokers have rights too, and it would be nice if there were outdoor gazebos for them to smoke freely.”
Executive Dean of Students James Canonica says that the campus will not allow smoking areas or gazebos on any of the three campuses. “It would create a bad impression for what we are trying to teach here at Camden County College,” says Canonica. Canonica also points out that the ban was put into place to set a good example for the students, to help the students stay healthy and ultimately put them on the right track to a better life financially considering the fact that the cost of cigarettes and health insurance for smokers have risen substantially. “We are taking a holistic approach to learning,” states Canonica.
Newly appointed student body president Orlando Rodriguez says that the student government will not fully be addressing the smoking issue until the spring semester. However, he does recognize that the tobacco ban is an issue. “The ban is definitely an issue on campus, and I hope to be able to create a solution that everyone will be satisfied with,” says Rodriguez.
Until that solution comes though students like Ryan Palmer will continue to be unhappy with the college experience. “I pay tuition to come here,” says Palmer, “and I really dislike that my rights are being pushed aside.”
For those who wish to quit smoking the college offers tobacco cessations, smoking workshops and financial discounts for students who wish to quit through private agencies. A smoker may find this help by contacting the public safety office.